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Not So Fast!

     ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if life would slow down just a little bit?’  Have you ever voiced those words or heard them from a friend?  Even though we can be responsibly focused on the next conquest or checking something off of our ‘to-do’ list, many times we do find ourselves as if spinning on a merry-go-round – hardly hanging on and afraid to let go.  ‘Faster, faster, faster’ someone shouts.   Let us look at two verses from scripture to help illustrate how God establishes your victory in this fast-paced world – things that when understood will ensure your victory in any situation.  After all, God has a better way and it will mean the defeat of your enemies as you learn His secrets to success.

Resting in Abnormal

     I trust your new year has started off great after this first week of 2016. During a recent time of prayer, I was impressed again with the idea of rest, surrender, and peace. These words are often so precious to us in our busy lives, and even longed for, yet when we are challenged to embrace them, rather than us purposefully changing our busy lives and heart, our busy lives change and distort us away from their simplicity. I want to encourage you to engage with what God is doing and trusting that it is acceptable and permissible to get off the treadmill, stop or slow down some of your 'doing', and surrender to His peace and rest. Two images come to mind that illustrate this. To be honest, the first image comes from a personal place in me (or it may be the result of watching Star Wars again recently).

So Goes the World

     Much is happening in our world that is provoking many to evaluate what they believe, where they stand, and what course of action they can take to make the world better.  Many are learning that old ways no longer work.  Still others are being better rounded by past mistakes to properly respond now to the issues at hand.  Many are praying and seeking wisdom and counsel to address the issues correctly.  This is good.  Dialog is being created that was once tenuous at best and undesirable at worst.  Much is changing in our world – some for good and some for bad.  But life and the vibrancy which it brings continues because hope and faith remain vigilant.  Where the enemy has sought to bring division, God is bringing to light a unified force in preparation for the expansion of His Kingdom.  

     I have a challenging perspective to look at today and it has been brought about by current affairs.  It is a challenge for the churches and the Christians that attend them weekly.

Why Are You Here?

     Why are you here?  Have you ever asked yourself that question or has someone close to you sent those words into your ears?  Whether this question is in response to the age old question of purpose and destiny or it has come from someone who didn’t expect to see you, it is an important question, and clarity comes from finding its answer.   We should never simply look at our circumstances to answer this question.

     The answer to such a question is deeper than looking at where we are or how we got there.  In order to properly answer it, you must also ask yourself, 'what has God deposited in me prior to getting here and how do I remain faithful to that now that I am here?'  You see, it is not simply about where you are but what you bring to the table in the current moment. 

To Build and to Tear Down

     Wisdom knows how to ‘speak the truth in love’.  Doing this is not always comfortable but necessary because truth and love build strength and protection while tearing down harmful obstacles.  In our Facebook, blog, ‘printable content everywhere’ world, we must all learn when we are building or tearing down.  The meek and the mild must walk closely with the warrior watchman if we are to properly navigate the treacherous waters that appear to be ahead. 

     Our world today is filled with great struggle.  Regarding people and nations, this struggle exists from within and without.  Nations are reeling from conflict, people groups are being challenged to define and even redefine themselves in order to resolve deep seated concerns they hold dear.  Regardless of how the world around us responds to such issues, the Church, the universal collection of righteous saints from every stream and tribe, must have as it’s foremost goal, a desire to stand strong and true to the Lord’s will and none other.

Freedom and Suddenly

     'It came to pass' as rapidly as it was first noticed.  Many times, that is God's way of bringing about significant and timely change.  God cannot fully reveal a new way when those who are meant to be a catalyst for change are still wrapped in an old way of thinking.  A sudden shift in direction or the surrounding atmosphere quite often takes place when we become open or consigned to doing something different. 

     As we have seen in earlier writings, freedom is not granted by governments, religion or man.  True freedom is found in knowing who you are or the way God created you as a physical and spiritual being while being aligned to His Word and the leading of the Helper, His Holy Spirit, as teacher and guide.  When one is truly free he is seen as dead to this world and alive to Christ.  When one is truly free or on the path to seek freedom in Christ, he is most ready for God to move mightily on his behalf.  That is when the time is ripe for a ‘suddenly of God’.

     There are people who are reading this article right now who are sensing a suddenly of God.  Things are taking place for them that they would have never expected primarily because they did not give up.  

Freedom and Passion

     We will continue to address Freedom with a look today into how it relates to Passion or that internal driving force of interest, goal, and individual expression as imparted by our Creator.  No one is ever freer than when they are operating in their God-given passion. Passion is like Faith in that its very existence is an indicator of a possible key direction or of an area requiring attention.  Passion and Faith are to be directed towards God’s intended use but passion can be good or bad, sinful or righteous and surely will define the course of one’s life.   Passion can be a force that both builds and tears down, guides to clarity or leads to destruction.

     Godly passion can lead to freedom as surely as unbridled lust can lead to bondage.  This is because passion operates in much the same way as faith.  Passion, like faith, has a creative nature of itself that can shift the climate or atmosphere that surrounds it.  If you determine the real identity, name and expression of the passion that is within you, you will find yourself as if driven by the wind to a destination only dreamed of which now becomes within reach. Passion is like the prophetic word, it speaks to your potential.

Freedom and Greatness

     True greatness is as elusive as freedom.   Freedom is not simply the absence of chains and bondage.  Some who appear to be free are still held in chains within their own heart and mind while not able to see themselves free from their current surroundings, culture, or environment.  So, too, greatness is not simply measured in accomplishment or position but is found to exist where many do not expect to find it…in the quality of character one relies on from within.  To truly be free, you must master an understanding of greatness otherwise neither freedom nor greatness will be securely within your grasp.

     Greatness is found by the humble or those willing to learn – the teachable ones.  Those who are able to build on their strengths, learn from their mistakes, make corrections where necessary, and especially able to receive correction from others (even when that correction is poorly given) will find themselves on the path towards greatness.   Those who are suited for greatness take every circumstance, whether comfortable or painful, and process it for their own growth and understanding.  However, when greatness is seen as a position to which one would aspire then greatness will often be missed because greatness is most suitable for the humble at heart.

Freedom and Communication

     There are few things more important than communication - the ability to speak, write, or convey thought, truth, emotion, and heart.  From the first words of a child to the last words or testament of the dying, the ability to communicate has the power to shift the atmosphere and bind up or set free all those that can hear.

     Again, whether our communication is in word, thought or deed, we have the ability to shape, to change, to bring down or build up a situation.  Many a careless deed has been provoked by poor communication and wars have been stopped by well-spoken and timely words.  I do not know the author but this link has a great presentation of Proverbs as related to communication.  

     We can all remember something that was done either by us or another person that left all involved with a sense of confusion trying to figure out where it all went wrong.  Deeds were done by someone because of misunderstanding the facts and leaving all those involved standing in a pile of broken relationships, failed unity and unhealthy expectations.  

Freedom and Stewardship

     If the very word ‘Stewardship’ brings back memories of building programs and capital campaigns, I ask that you read further to see that this word means so much more.  If we understand it properly it can be a defining strength, a stabilizing balance, an immovable counterweight to the weaknesses of our human soul.  Stewardship is an administration, a message, a vision, a walk of life not for the purpose of giving but as the direct result of a close relationship with God as King.  A Christian who finds stewardship as a result of finding Freedom is an unstoppable force that will change the world around him.  Stewardship is a hand-off – as if God were speaking through you.

     Yes, basically stewardship is the tending to and distribution of assets and resources given.  For the Christian, this is foremost related to all which God has given to us in anointing, environment, release, and the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

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